JONESBORO – There is a special program taking place this month to provide a creative outlet for veterans. The Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and Southern Tenant Farmers Museum will host a Veterans Songwriting Retreat on Friday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Nov. 12, in collaboration with Freedom Sings.
Songwriters who will be on hand to work with military veterans include Erin Enderlin, Wood Newton, Don Tucker, Gregg Shively and Paul Tull. This is a free opportunity for veterans to take part in artistic activity.
“While discussing programming options and events for the year we wanted to include a special opportunity for veterans. As Johnny Cash was a veteran, and with his music career, we thought this was the perfect combination,” said Penny Toombs, director of Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum.
Veterans who are interested can contact Toombs, at ptoombs@AState.edu. “Space is limited and by reservation only. A waiting list will be available when capacity is reached,” said Toombs.
Live performances by the songwriters start at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights at Native Brew Works located at 515 S. Gee Street. The events are free and open to the public. “We would love for the public to come out and show support for our veterans and songwriters, especially being Veterans Day weekend,” said Toombs.
This event is made possible thanks to the Osceola/South Mississippi County Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Arts Council’s Arts in Lifelong Learning Grant.
The Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum are both Arkansas State University Heritage Sites. The Dyess Colony, founded in 1934 under the Works Progress Administration as a federal agricultural resettlement community, was named after WPA administrator William Reynolds Dyess. Ray and Carrie Cash and their five young children moved to the colony in 1935. The site became part of Arkansas State University in 2011.
The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum opened in 2006. The historic Mitchell-East building in Tyronza was the unofficial home of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union which began in 1934. Museum exhibits include tenant farming, sharecropping and the farm labor movement in the south.
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